Under Water Adventure – Cookie Construction Build Day 2019

The 5th Annual Cookie Construction Build Day is a wrap! After six months of planning, practicing and preparing, seven Cookie Construction teams comprised of 30 female design professionals and 100 Girl Scouts descended upon Crown Center to finally bring their “Underwater Adventure” builds to life on March 2. Each team was given an 8×8 space to build their structures and after 4 ½ hours of build time, girls dropped the glue guns and tape, stepped away and marveled in their completed builds!

Frost Bite
By: Antarchitects

Mentor Firms: Klover Architects

Brr… Welcome to the icy waters at the ends of the Earth! You might think that due to the frigid temperatures and harsh conditions here that there isn’t a lot to do or much to explore, but that couldn’t be further from the truth! While there is a lot of fun happening above water, just like icebergs, there is even more to explore under the surface! Penguins, seals, whales, fish and even plants have found ways to make these icy waters their homes.

A Surprising Discovery
By: Jaws Squad
Mentor Firm: Hollis + Miller Architects

Our team wanted to make a major statement with our build and focus on a few bold elements that would catch the viewer’s attention. We were most inspired by underwater discovery in movies, the goggles left by a scuba diver from the movie “Finding Nemo” and the shocking and powerful shark from the movie “Jaws”. Through the process of sketching and brainstorming as a team, we found that we could put a creative spin on these two major elements. By playing with scale and creating a lens for the viewer, the design is meant to make the viewer feel like they are an underwater explorer making a surprising major discovery. In Girl Scouts and in life, you never know what you might discover!TEAM PHOTO + BULD

Treasure Untold
By: Let’s Get Kracken
Mentor Firm: International Architects Atelier

Our team, Let’s Get Kraken, decided to make “Treasure Untold:” a beautiful piece made of different colors and types of cookie boxes. The piece shows a purple octopus opening a treasure chest that has many items to represent treasure. Around the octopus and treasure is colorful vibrant coral. On the bottom of our display are shredded boxes to represent sand. The whole piece represents an underwater exploration. The creators are showing how Girl Scouts all work together and how we can come to an agreement. When you have teamwork, you can accomplish BIG THINGS!T

Shipwreck of the North
By: Oops, I Inked!

Mentor Firms: Midland Steel Company, Tompkins Architects, Ellison-Auxier Architects, River Bluff Architects

The Girl Scout Pirates of the North had to deliver Girl Scout cookies to SpongeBob. They set out on a stormy night. Then, lighting struck the side of the ship. The ship fell down to the bottom of the sea, hit the rocks and broke in half. SpongeBob wanted his cookies, so he decided to go on an adventure to find them. He hopped on a turtle for a ride, but the turtle got stuck in seaweed. The turtle had to eat the seaweed to make his way out. He then followed a school of fish to a colorful coral reef. There, SpongeBob found part of the ship, but also saw a shark guarding it! The turtle helped him out by distracting the shark. SpongeBob ran into the ship and found a treasure chest. Inside he found the cookies he had been searching for!T

A Window to the Sea
By: Queens of Argentine
Mentor Firm: BRR Architecture

Our build showcases a picture window to the ocean with all the unique creatures of the sea living in harmony. Our main structure implies the frame of a picture box with many different tiers featuring a wide variety of sea creatures swimming together through colorful underwater plant life. The structure is formed using a stair step method in order to achieve the highest visibility for all the creatures and to give them the illusion of floating through the water. The largest element of our build is the Girl Scout octopus who pushes the boundaries of her container, climbing out and fearlessly setting off to explore other worlds outside her own. Wearing her Girl Scout sash and her crown as a Queen of Argentine, she sets off to find new adventures and new friendships.

T

Mer-Catopolis
By: Team MerCats
Mentor Firms: Populous, All Tile CCS, Roth Living, Built Interiors

Our team invites you to explore the depths of the ocean and the fantastic ruins of Mer-Catopolis. This underwater world is home to mythical hybrid creatures named Mer-Cats. Mer-Catopolis inspiration comes from ancient Greek and Roman architectural elements such as ionic columns, arches, and monumental buildings. The city is full of colors and textures that are derived from many types of coral and algae. This lively environment and flora attract fish and sea life of different varieties and sizes. The main square has a fountain displaying Poseidon’s trident, where Mer-Cats gather to meet their friends. Everyone in Mer-Catopolis feels happy and safe, as magical narwhals guard the doors to the city. These guards protect the residents and the coveted treasure of the ocean, which hides in a cave located at the edge of town. Welcome to Mer-Catopolis!

T

Life Lost
By: Absolutely  Remarkable Things
Mentor Firms: Scott Rice Office Works, DLR Group, Treanor HL, Working Spaces

Our sculpture represents life lost by depicting an underwater plane crash as well as various stages of sick coral reef. The plane is thought to have traveled around the world exploring until it crashed in to the ocean, ending up on the ocean floor. Shown are various forms of sea life and plants interacting with the crashed plane and other depictions of past life are represented through other elements such as the helmet. The dying coral is also thought to show past life because a coral reef is a living organism that is an important part of the ocean ecosystem. Throughout our research we discovered that we know more about parts of space than we do about the ocean floor.T

While the panel of Jurors evaluated each build, 41 Action News Meteorologist Lindsey Anderson emceed program and Master Lego Builder Joe Nunnink entertained the audience by speed building a seahorse out of Legos!

A panel of Jurors evaluated each structure on creativity in design, structural design, use of colors/labels, craftsmanship and adherence to rules & regulations. While all the builds had incredible details, personality, and were creative in their own right, the MerCats were presented with the Juror’s Choice Award! They loved their unique interpretation of the theme, use of narrative and their demonstration of knowledge of the history of architecture. The MerCats created depth and vignettes utilizing ionic arches to frame the scene, and incorporated the 2019 Cookie Program Mascot into those arches!

Juror’s Choice Award: MerCats

Thank you to our Jurors, Nick Lawler, Meredith Stoll, Whitley S. Fields, Andrew Pitts and Samantha McCloud and Amy Slattery!

This program wouldn’t be possible without the support and dedication of our female design professionals in the Kansas City and St. Joseph areas. Thank you for sharing your knowledge, expertise and time with our Girl Scouts!

The awards aren’t done yet; you can still cast your ballot for People’s Choice Award! Visit Crown Center and see these impressive builds yourself and vote for your favorite structure through March 22!

The 2019 Cookie Construction Program is a partnership with AIA Kansas City and made possible with the support of Crown Center, BRR Architecture & McCownGordon Construction.

Want to see more? Check out photos from Build Day on our Facebook Page. Want to participate?! Cookie Construction is open to Cadettes, Seniors & Ambassadors and registration will open this summer!

Celebrate Girl Scout Week

March 10 – 16, 2019

Whether you’re a Girl Scout alum, a current member, a dedicated volunteer, or you simply have an extraordinary Girl Scout in your life, you’re an important part of the Girl Scout family. And you know what families do together? Celebrate!

Girl Scout Week is definitely something to celebrate—seven straight days to show off your Girl Scout pride and lift up all that this worldwide sisterhood has given you, your community, and the world. Join us in treating each day from Sunday, March 10, through Saturday, March 16, as a day of action focused on a powerful yet simple way to get involved.

Sunday, March 10
Girl Scout Sunday is a special day dedicated to thinking about your beliefs and how they’re reflected in the Girl Scout Law.

Monday, March 11
STEM Day is the day we celebrate everything cool about science, technology, engineering & math. Try out one of our STEM activities or show us how you celebrate STEM.


Tuesday, March 12
It’s Girl Scouts’ 107th birthday! Learn about G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders) who are Girl Scouts who changed or are changing the world.  

Wednesday, March 13
Get out your green gear—it’s Girl Scout Spirit Day! Girls, wear that sash / vest or fave t-shirt. And adults, whether you sport a Girl Scout tee under a blazer at the office or rock a trefoil sweatshirt at the gym, let everyone know you’re a G.I.R.L. at heart. 

Thursday, March 14
Daisy’s Circle Day! Philanthropy supports Girl Scouting across our 47 counties. If you are a member, wear your Daisy’s Circle pin and ask someone to join you as a member. If you’re new to Daisy’s Circle, consider joining this powerful circle on this special day of Standing Up for G.I.R.L.s! 

Friday, March 15

Take Action Day! Kick off the weekend by giving back to your community. Could the local park use a cleanup? Does the food bank need volunteers? As always, the best person for the job is a Girl Scout! 

Saturday, March 16
Girl Scout Sabbath – Besides reflecting on your beliefs and how they’re echoed in the Girl Scout Law, we urge you to take some time this Girl Scout Sabbath to learn something new about someone else’s faith.  So, are you with us? Ready to go green and shout your Girl Scout love from the rooftops? Follow along on Instagram,Twitter, and Facebook for more fun all week long. (Link to our social media)

Looking for a special Girl Scout Week keepsake? Check out the 2019 Girl Scout Memorabilia in the Girl Scout Shop. 

Blending Art and Science in a STEAM career

A Check-In with Girl Scout Alum Allison Jones

If you’ve been to a show at the Kansas City Zoo, odds are you’ve seen Girl Scout Alum and Lifetime member, Allison Jones!  This show stopping Girl Scout has found a way to blend performance art with science. Working both as a professional actress and as an Education Instructor at the Kansas City Zoo, Allison has found a way to incorporate two worlds in her career.

Allison started Girl Scouts as a Girl Scout Daisy in St. Louis, MO and moved to Lee’s Summit, MO in 2nd grade where she joined Troop 1609. “When we moved to Kansas City, my Girl Scout experience shifted to being very service oriented,” Allison said. As part of this focus on service, she earned her Silver Award by leading a Toys for Tots collection drive.

Growing up in Girl Scouts, Allison learned a diverse set of skills, including how to use her voice and the magic of science. It started with a normal Girl Scout activity – being at camp. “I played outside as a kid, but there was something different about Girl Scout camp. Being around the woods and animals and water and mysterious things in the dirt was so inspiring for me,” Allison said. She went on to become a counselor, helping other girls learn about nature and science.

Alison at camp; Allison with former GSUSA CEO, Anna Maria Chavez; Allison with animals at the zoo.

The other Girl Scout activity that inspired a love of science was a program called “INVENTure University” where Girl Scouts were challenged to invent something. “The program lasted a week and we stayed at Rockhurst University in the dorms. We had a week to invent, build and present something. My invention was a peanut butter jar you could open from both ends,” Allison said.

While Girl Scouts helped develop her love of science, it was a family trip to Sea World where Allison saw trainers working with animals and knew that’s what she wanted to do. From there, she went to the Alabama A&M University to study Biology. While there, she got back to her Girl Scout roots by helping lead a local troop during her junior year of college.

Since graduating, Allison has been working at the Kansas City Zoo and proudly representing what it means to be a Girl Scout! In the past few years, she also started her acting career and has been cast in professional shows around KC, including lead roles in Once On This Island with Spinning Tree Theatre and My Fair Lady with Girl Scout Community Partner, Musical Theatre Heritage. She’s currently performing in the Quartet in A Christmas Carol with the Kansas City Reparatory Theatre.

Allison Jones in…A Christmas Carol at the KC Rep; …Sister Act at the Barn Players; …Once On This Island as Ti Moune at Spinning Tree & My Fair Lady as Eliza Doolittle at Musical Theatre Heritage.

When presenting for the Kansas City Zoo, Allison sees the biggest crossover of arts skills in science. “Every animal has a story, so it’s fun when you can make their story animated and fun for kids,” Allison said. On stage, Allison uses her experience training animals to sometimes get co-stars to cooperate “as far as science in the arts goes…positive reinforcement works for people too!” Allison said.

This woman in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math) believes that it’s important to have girls represented in the diverse fields of science. “Girls need to understand that science is more than medical school, labs and engineering. There are so many facets of science and we need diverse thinkers to create science. We wouldn’t have the science we have now without diversity,” Allison said.

One of the things she loves most about presenting for the zoo and doing “talk backs” (after performance Q&A opportunities with actors and the audience) is being able to represent women of color in both arenas. Whether she’s the lead in a musical or presenting an animal, it’s important to her that girls see themselves represented in various careers.

Thank you, Allison for showing what it means to be a versatile and talented G.I.R.L.! Learn more about Girl Scout STEAM opportunities by visiting www.gsksmo.org!

GS Alum Leadership in Action

Spotlight on Girl Scout Alum Angela Bennett

Leadership in action – that’s what living a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)TM life is all about. Meet Girl Scout Alum, former GSKSMO board member and member of Daisy’s Circle and the Juliette Gordon Low Society, Angela Bennett! This Girl Scout has been a leader in the KC community for years, serving on boards around the city, becoming the first black attorney at her law firm and as a Regional Director of the US Department of Education Office of Civil Rights. Now retired, Angela is dedicated to improving her community through volunteerism!

Angela Bennett with Gold Award Girl Scout Alum Catherine Pestinger and former GSKSMO Board President Libby Allman at the Juliette Gordon Low Society Luncheon in 2014.

Angela Bennett was raised in Kansas City, MO and started Girl Scouts in second grade. She remembers her first overnight campout was at Camp Timberlake and from her 2nd year of Girl Scouts on, she attended Camp Oakledge, well into her high school years. At camp, Angela learned critical networking and relationship building skills that would help her in future careers.

“When I was at camp, I had the opportunity to meet new people. I met girls from other communities that I wasn’t always exposed to and that was a good experience,” Angela said. Attending camp in the mid-1960s meant Angela was sometimes faced with racial prejudice, but at camp, she found those stereotypes and prejudices changed by the end of resident camp more often than not. That’s the power of getting girls together in a common activity away from the city and societal pressures – they can learn about one another in a safe space.

Beyond camping, Angela learned business skills through the Cookie Program. Her leader, Connie, made a large impact on her life and helped motivate her to succeed in the Cookie Program. “Our living room would be filled with cookie boxes before we could deliver them,” Angela said. These skills translated into adulthood as Angela attended UMKC for undergrad and Law School!

After graduating law school, Angela Bennett worked in a variety of occupations, blazing trails along the way. She served in the County Council office, worked for the Missouri Attorney General in the Consumer Protection division, in Army Corp of Engineers and Lathrop Gage. “I went to law school because I wanted to help people. My parents and Girl Scouts instilled in me a strong sense of giving back, so that’s always been important in my career,” Angela said.

With that motivation to give back, Angela accepted a position as the Regional Director of the US Department of Education Office of Civil Rights and served in that role for 17 years before retiring in 2014. In this role she was able to make a major impact on the lives of children in the education system. She also served on the Board of Curators for University of Missouri system. When you talk about a Girl Scout giving back through life, Angela Bennett is a prime example of leadership in volunteerism!

Her devotion to Girl Scouts remained strong well into adulthood. She served on the GSKSMO Board of Directors in the early 1990s learned a lot about the organization. “Being on the Board was a good experience because I got to learn about the needs of the organization,” Angela said. She was also actively involved in the 75th Girl Scout anniversary celebration, working to find local Girl Scout alums to attend and bringing out memorabilia like her “lemy stick” and Girl Scout Brownie Book!

She has continued to invest in Girl Scouts because of the positive experiences she had as a girl and because she knows that it helps build girls for a better future. “Giving to Girl Scouts is one of the best ways to support girls as they grow to become contributing members of society,” Angela said.

Thank you to Angela Bennett for not only investing in girls, but for being a strong example of the type of woman Girl Scouts helps empower! Learn more about the Juliette Gordon Low Society and Daisy’s Circle to give back like Angela.

Cooking Up a Great Volunteer Experience: Man Enough to be a Girl Scout, Jason Sonderman

Man enough to lead a Service Unit! Meet Jason Sonderman, an exceptional Girl Scout dad who’s taken his leadership to the next level as Service Unit Manager for SU607. Growing in leadership just like his Girl Scout Junior daughter, Riley, Jason has gone from parent volunteer to Appreciation Pin honoree to Service Unit Manager and member of Daisy’s Circle! Talk about some serious G.I.R.L. dedication!

Jason started like most Girl Scout parents – new and unsure where volunteering would take him. When Riley was a Daisy, her mother, Micah, became the co-leader and Jason found himself picking up a variety of tasks. “It took 3-4 years for me to find my place in volunteering outside of building things and helping with carpools. Around Brownies I started finding a need in Day Camp and a place to help,” Jason said.

He found a love of working at Day Camp and started coming a couple days a week to help with the cooking program. With the guidance of fellow volunteers, he found his stride and started feeling confident in his leadership. “Working a Day Camp really opened my eyes to how parents can get involved,” Jason said. He served as unit leader for 2 years, then took over the cooking program.

To put a personal touch on his Day Camp leadership, he developed a persona named “Cookie.” “Cookie is larger than life and memorable,” Jason said. Together, Riley and Jason worked on the cooking program and as she grew as a leader, he felt pride and was even more motivated to be involved.

During cookie booth season, parents were talking about the Service Unit Manager position that was opening up. While there was a lot of interest, Jason joked about putting his hat in the ring and no one thought it was a joke, in fact, they thought it’d be great. “When no one laughed, I was surprised, but when we talked about it, it just made sense. I don’t lead a troop, so I don’t have other things vying for my attention, I can just focus on the service unit,” Jason said.

As a dad, he knows he’s in the minority as a male volunteer, but thinks that makes his service important so both genders are being represented in the organization. “Girl Scouts needs to see both genders represented as volunteers and in leadership to help them understand life outside as well as see both parents just giving back,” Jason said. Throughout all of it, the best part of giving back is being part of the Girl Scout world with Riley and Micah.

“Girl Scouts gives me something to do with my daughter and wife. I understand it, I can be engaged and participate rather than it just being their thing,” Jason said. He and Micah love the program because of the opportunities it provides for Riley.

Riley has developed her own way of expression, giving back and leadership through filming Day Camps and creating recruitment videos for them, as well as helping with the cooking program. “Girl Scouts is a full environment where girls can build a sisterhood and at the same time, learn things. They’re learning about life, leadership, and skills they’ll need to excel in our society and be respected,” Jason said.

The Sondermans not only give of their time, they give financially through Daisy’s Circle as well. “In our hearts, giving follows our faith and my wife and I have that extra amount to give to help someone be involved. We can help remove the barrier of maybe a $25 membership fee that might be preventing a girl from having this experience,” Jason said.

We thank the Sonderman family for giving so fully to Girl Scouts and believing in the power of all G.I.R.L.s. We are thrilled to see Riley grow her skills and become the best G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader) she can be! If you’d like to learn more about Daisy’s Circle, visit www.daisyscircle.org.

Our Top Campfire Recipes

(includes all the ingredients and instructions)

Thursday was the first official day of summer and camp season is well underway! As you prepare to get outdoors with your troop or family, you can impress them with your outdoor culinary skills using these recipes below!

 

Breakfast:

Omelet in a Bag
From Leah at Beyer Beware
Serves: 6

Ingredients:
BPA Free freezer bags
2 eggs/person
Omelet ingredients of your choice (pre-cooked sausage, bacon, ham, mushrooms, black olives, peppers, onions, tomatoes, etc.)
1 bag shredded cheese for every 6 people

Instructions:

  1. Start a pot of boiling water large enough to hold at least 6 bags
  2. Write names on freezer bags
  3. Break two eggs into each freezer bag
  4. Add ingredients of your choice
  5. Seal and place in boiling water for 14-15 minutes
  6. Carefully remove from water and let cool for a minute or two before emptying omelet onto a plate

 

DIY Instant Oatmeal
From The First Mess

Ingredients:
½ c. Oats per person
Toppings of your choice! (dried fruits, nuts, brown sugar, etc.)
Salt

Instructions:

  1. Use a campfire tea kettle to boil water
  2. Using a bowl, create your own oatmeal mix, using 1/2 oats per person, a pinch of salt and toppings of your choice.
  3. Add 2 tbsp. – ¼ c. of boiling water to the oatmeal mix depending on how watery/sticky you want it and stir.
  4. Enjoy!

 

Main Dishes:

Pizza Fondue + French Bread
Submitted by Lysette Deboard, SU716 Day Camp Director
Serves: 12ish

Ingredients:
2-3 lbs ground beef
2 c. mozzarella cheese
2 c. cheddar cheese
3-4 cans pizza sauce
4-5 loaves French bread

Instructions:

  1. Make a hot fire an place a grate over it. Cover the outside bottom of a cooking pot with dish soap
  2. Place the pot on the fire and brown the ground beef
  3. While the beef is being prepared, have girls slice bread and prepare any other sides you may have (salad/veggies are great with this!)
  4. Line a large bowl with several layers of paper towels. Pour the beef in the bowl and let the towels absorb the grease. Put the beef back into the pot and over the fire. Alternatively, you can drain the grease into a can.
  5. Pour all pizza sauce in with the beef an let it simmer until heated. Cook 15 minutes or until hot.
  6. Add cheeses to the pot and stir well until melted.
  7. Remove from fire and serve a large scoop of “fondue” and two slices of bread to each person.

 

Walking Tacos
Serves: 5+
Ingredients:
Single-serving bag of Fritos for each person
1 lb. ground beef for every 5 girls/4 adults
Taco seasoning of your choice
Taco toppings of your choice (shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, pico, salsa, sour cream, avocado, black olives, onions, black/refried beans, etc.)

 Instructions:

  1. Using a campfire pan, cook meat with desired taco seasoning until brown
  2. Remove pan from fire and set in a safe area
  3. Have each girl open a bag of fritos and serve one spoonful of meat directly into the bag
  4. Let each girl add her desired toppings & enjoy straight out of the bag!

Desserts

Campfire Cobbler
Submitted by Kelly Rogge, SU 618, Troop 1302
Serves: 12ish

Ingredients:
2 cans pie filling – your choice!
1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick butter or margarine

Instructions:

First you will want to put at least 25 charcoal briquettes in the campfire. While those are getting nice and hot, line your dutch oven with heavy-duty foil. Do not use the cheap, Dollar Store foil. Go for the Reynolds Heavy-duty brand. Double-line the dutch oven completely. Open two cans of pie filling and pour into the dutch oven. Pour one box of yellow cake mix on top of the filling, and spread evenly. Cut stick of butter or margarine into slices and place on top of the dry cake mix. Put the lid on the dutch oven.

Remove the briquettes carefully from the fire using tongs. Place five to six on the ground near the campfire. Place the dutch oven on top of the briquettes. Then place 10 to 12 briquettes on the lid. This will ensure even cooking. Cook cobbler for 25 to 45 minutes, depending on how hot the briquettes are.

 

Not-so-messy S’mores
Submitted by Allie Steele, Troop 1006

Ingredients:
Waffle Cones
Marshmallows
Chocolate chips
Additional toppings of your choosing
Foil

Instructions:

  1. Grab a cone and put in marshmallows, chocolate chips and whatever else you like (bananas, strawberries, caramel chips, peanut butter cups, etc)!
  2. Wrap the stuffed cone in tin foil and place it on the fire for 5-10 minutes (depending on how melty you like it!)
  3. Take off the fire and allow to cool
  4. Unwrap the tinfoil and enjoy your not-so messy s’mores!

 

What are your go-to campfire meals?! Let us know in the comments below or share them on social media and tag us with #gsksmo!

STAND UP FOR GIRLS

A Message from CEO Joy Wheeler

Today, the intent of Boy Scouts of America was made crystal clear in the launch of their national marketing campaign ”Scout Me In”  designed to entice parents to enroll their girls and boys into “Scouting” through Cub Scouts of Boy Scouts of America.

Most of you are probably aware Boy Scouts have begun recruiting girls in our markets; an example yesterday evening when girls leaving their Girl Scout meeting were greeted with Boy Scout recruitment flyers.  We are aware of many more examples and they will continue to increase and become more aggressive.

I want to assure you, Girl Scouts remains firmly committed to the girl only space as we are the BEST Leadership organization for Girls.  Girl Scouts offers a safe place where girls lead, feel free to explore new things outside their comfort zone, and develop new skills that builds courage and confidence without the distractions of the gender and stereotype bias that still exists in co-ed environments. With 106 years of experience in serving only girls gives us the right to claim we have the expertise and knowledge on how to BEST develop girls to achieve their aspirations and take leadership roles.

Our girl specific leadership development program in addition to our intentional program focus areas of STEM, Entrepreneurship, and Civic Engagement are in addition to the broad experiences she gets in Outdoor activities, high adventure, and exploration.  Indeed we are developing girls; the largest untapped resource to meet the workplace needs of the 21st century. And never before has the need for female leadership been more obvious.

I get to STAND UP FOR GIRLS every day as we develop girls to meet their full potential.  You will hear more from me and I want to hear from you!  Contact me and join us as we Stand Up For Girls…. because she deserves it.

Yours in Girl Scouting,

Joy Wheeler

G.I.R.L. and Chief Executive Officer

 

Want more information? Check out:

No Contest: Girl Scouts is the Best Leadership Organization for Girls

The Girl Scout Difference

The Case for Girl Scouts: Research & Data

 

Soaring Together – Sisters in Business, Susan & Karen Lordi

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius

The Lordi sisters behind the inspirational brand of figurative sculptures, Willow Tree, are Girl Scout Alums who found the best co-workers are family. Susan (“Sue”) and Karen Lordi have been working on projects as a team since childhood, and that sisterly teamwork has transformed into a powerful duo that’s flying high in the world of consumer art. Together, they’ve created a brand that defied artistic styles of the time, combining Sue’s art with Karen’s words.

For the Lordi family, it’s no surprise that Karen and Sue work together today because their childhood was filled with partnerships that complemented the skills of each girl. A joyful Karen found herself the willing assistant for big sister Sue’s big ideas. “Sue was always coming up with creative projects, and she wanted someone to do them with. As her younger sister, I’d do anything she said!” said Karen. From the mini summer camp they organized in their neighborhood, charging $.10/child for the day, to building Sue’s high school float (where Karen did more work than the high schoolers), the two made a great team.

During their childhood adventures, they hatched a plan to create a puppet show that mirrored their working lives today. Sue painted beautiful backdrops, sewed costumes and sculpted the papier-mâché puppets while Karen wrote the script. They both performed the show in a little puppet theater their father built and soon got requests to come perform for birthday parties in the neighborhood. This  artist/writer partnership still exists today, with their creation of the international brand, Willow Tree.

“We’ve always had this artist and writer relationship,” Karen said. “A few years ago, we realized, ‘gosh, we’re doing the same things now!’ I’m sculpting the figures, and she’s doing the writing!” Sue said.

During their childhood, both girls experienced the power of Girl Scouting. Their mother was a troop co-leader and the girls fondly reflect on memories of the play she put on with each of their troops. The play was a great way to incorporate visual art and performance art. Engaging in the costume design and scenery painting fulfilled some of Sue and Karen’s artistic desires.

As adults, Sue and Karen found themselves in the roles of co-leader and troop leader for many years. Sue encouraged her Girl Scouts, which included her daughter Sara, with innovative outdoor art projects. Karen led two troops for her daughters, Diana and Julia, for 10 years, focusing on a lot of challenging outdoor experiences. With such a love of the outdoors, it’s no wonder that the Willow Tree team does hiking retreats each year as a team builder!

Today, Sue and Karen continue their strong sisterly bond, sculpting Willow Tree figures and writing the titles and sentiments that accompany each piece. Creating Willow Tree pieces that inspire the consumer has become a passionate life’s work for both women. By standing together, believing in the original creative rationale they presented when forming the brand, they’ve been able to maintain an incredible standard of quality in Willow Tree for nearly two decades. Talk about some serious G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)TM working together!

“[Our job] is just fun. It’s not just about making money, there are a lot of places you can make money, but there aren’t many places you can have this much fun at work,” Sue said.

As Sue and Karen worked on the piece “Butterfly” that is flying into our Inspire a Girl celebration, they reflected on their own “butterfly stories” and the times they’ve overcome personal challenges. For Sue, she feels transformation happens “any time you have inner healing.” For Karen, one of her butterfly stories was learning to manage business and family. “Over the years, we’ve had to learn when to be sisters and when to work together on business. Sometimes it’s nice to just be sisters and go shopping together,” Karen said.

Every day, these sisters work together, and what they produce is a testament to their connection and creativity. You can see and feel their passion for what they do every time you give the gift of Willow Tree, and it starts from the dynamic duo of Susan and Karen Lordi—plus an amazing and dedicated team at DEMDACO!

We invite YOU to share your Butterfly Story TODAY and enter to win some AMAZING prizes – including your very own piece of Willow Tree! Girl Scouts are invited to submit their “Butterfly” story by March 12th and our friends at Willow Tree and DEMDACO will select the winning entries – including Sue and Karen! Each Girl Scout in the troop and her leader(s) will receive her/his own “Butterfly” sculpture AND complimentary entry to April 14th’s Inspire a Girl! We will also feature the winning stories at Inspire a Girl and get a special photo opportunity.

A special thanks to DEMDACO for their incredibly generous donation of the “Butterfly” sculptures, and to Susan and Karen Lordi for their involvement in this contest.

Cookie 5K Run/Walk

When Girl Scouts have big goals, innovation happens! Thanks to a super, supportive dad with special expertise, Girl Scout Junior Troop 1052 from Blue Springs, Missouri is working hard toward their troop goal of taking a trip together to St. Louis. And, Kansas City is getting its very first Girl Scout Cookie 5K Run/Walk. On March 3, 2018, you can run for cookies and celebrate G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)TM.

Scott Chilcutt manages runs for a living, working with KC Running Company. He’d seen Girl Scout cookie runs in other cities and when his daughter’s troop had ambitious goals for their trip, he saw it as a perfect fit to bring a Girl Scout cookie run to KC! It was a unique way he could contribute his own skill set to improve the troop experience for his daughter, Addy, and her Girl Scout sisters.

Troop 1052 has been together since 1st grade and they’re now awesome 5th grade Girl Scout Juniors. Scott loves having Addy in Girl Scouts because of the skills she learns and the things they get to do together.  “Girl Scouting gives Addy a lot of rewards. She has a community with her Girl Scout sisters, they have a lot of community involvement and I like the direction the troop has gone,” Scott said.

 

Left: Scott and daughter, Addy; Right: Troop 1052 at their 2017 St. Louis trip!

While his wife, Cassy, volunteers a lot with the troop, he still gets to be involved and help Addy with some of her new skills. “Girl Scouts is about getting back to the basics of what it is to be a dad and daughter. It’s an opportunity to work on skills that are starting to fall by the wayside,” Scott said.

Scott is hoping this run will become an annual event and hopes to involve more troops as it grows in size. He especially loves that it’s combining physical fitness with Girl Scout cookies – which are so very yummy and tempting to eat! “The Cookie Run will let people come support girls in a way they haven’t before. It’s a healthy initiative, which is new to combine with cookies. It’s teaching girls that it’s okay to eat the cookies when you’re pairing it with something healthy,” Scott said.

The run will take place in Independence, MO, near the Bass Pro Shop and with Girl Scout volunteers on hand, we know this is going to be an exciting celebration of girls! With Girl Scout Cookies as the prize and samples of each flavor available for runners, what better way to spend a Saturday? This run will feature food/celebrations at the end, runners getting to pick their favorite GS Cookie to celebrate finishing the race, a t-shirt for the day and much more.

 

Here’s a special sneak peek at the T-shirt design for the run!

If you’re inspired to support girls in a healthy, fun way, join us on March 3 as we cheer on everyone who stands with girls! You can register here – $34 for adults, $12 for kids (until March 1, when prices increase). You can also help the troop by sharing their facebook event for this run!

 

Tell Your Butterfly Story!

“Resilient, determined, courageous and beautiful… You have the qualities to transform your world…” –Susan Lordi (artist).

These words – resilient, determined, courageous, beautiful – all describe not only the life journey of the monarch butterfly, but also our own G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)TM Girl Scouts. When you think about the journey a butterfly goes through – from caterpillar to cocoon to breaking out of its shell to becoming one of the most beautiful creatures on the planet – its resilient strength only gets amplified. It’s no wonder this creature was the inspiration for the Kansas City based, internationally known artist behind Willow Tree®, Susan Lordi.

Strongly influenced by nature, art history, architecture, ballet and her family, Susan conceives and creates each Willow Tree piece at her studio in Kansas City, MO, surrounded by the robust art scene of the Crossroads district. After Susan sculpts and carves the original, it is then cast in resin that perfectly captures each of her knife marks. Each piece is then hand-painted, based on coloration and techniques unique to Willow Tree.

Many of us have strong memories with one of Susan’s creations. Her gesture-focused figures, with their elegant simplicity, invoke memories for anyone who has received one as a gift. Maybe it was a graduation gift, maybe a brother gave it to a sister, maybe a mother gave it to her daughter at her wedding. No matter the occasion, if you have a Willow Tree sculpture, it has meaning for you.  In Susan’s words, Willow Tree isn’t so much about the tangible piece. It represents an emotion, or it marks a memory”.

For 2018, Susan Lordi created a very special sculpture that combines the power of a girl with the resilience of the monarch butterfly…all accented with gold. Inspired by her love of the prairie, butterflies and the strength of women, “Butterfly” the sculpture was born. Girls. Strength. Gold.

“Butterfly” beautifully captures the essence of being a Girl Scout. The journey a monarch goes through sounds very similar to the growth of a Girl Scout from Daisy to Ambassador – finding strength and becoming more beautiful as she learns to spread her wings and fly. Because Willow Tree sculptures are all about the personal stories behind them…Willow Tree, DEMDACO and Girl Scouts invite YOU to tell YOUR butterfly story!

Beginning TODAY, February 12, Girl Scout Junior, Cadette, Senior & Ambassador troops and individual (Indy) Girl Scouts are invited to submit their “Butterfly” story for an awesome contest. Your story will want to embody what it means to you to be resilient, determined and courageous. How do you take action to change the world? How have you grown or will continue to grow into the beautiful monarch butterfly? We want this to be a girl-led activity, include plenty of creativity (submit artwork, a powerpoint, a video, etc.) and show others the power of being a Girl Scout!

Our story submission process will end on Girl Scouts’ 106th birthday – March 12th, with winners announced on Tuesday, March 20th, the first day of Spring. Our friends at Willow Tree and DEMDACO will select the winning entries – including Susan herself!

What do the winning “Butterfly” storytellers receive? Each Girl Scout in the troop and her leader(s) will receive her/his own “Butterfly” sculpture AND complimentary entry to April 14th’s Inspire a Girl! We will also feature the winning stories at Inspire a Girl and get a special photo opportunity.  A minimum of two troops or Indy Girl Scouts will be selected from each region (Central, East, West & North).

Learn more and submit your entry here between Feb. 12 – Mar. 12, 2018. We can’t wait to see these awesome “butterfly stories” from our amazing Girl Scouts!

Watch this special message from Susan! 

A special thanks to DEMDACO for their incredibly generous donation of the “Butterfly” sculptures, and to Susan and Karen Lordi (artist and writer sisters behind Willow Tree) for making this contest possible. Stay tuned for more exciting “Butterfly” announcements coming soon!